Prince Misses The Point: Sues YouTube, eBay, Pirate Bay For Copyright Infringement

from the and-it-looked-like-he-was-getting-somewhere dept

For many years it had seemed like Prince was one of the major music industry stars who actually understood the new business models made possible by the internet, and how those could be leveraged without wasting time on worrying about those who were making unauthorized copies. Unfortunately, for all his innovation in the space, it looks like he, too, has fallen victim to trying to sue those who are out there promoting his works. Prince had experimented widely with a variety of innovations in making, distributing and promoting music -- including his recent offer giving away his latest CD for free with newspapers. He'd also done a number of other promotions, all designed to push more people to his concerts and events where he could make even more money. That's why it's both surprising and disappointing to find out that Prince is now going to the other extreme and is suing YouTube, eBay and the Pirate Bay for making his works available.

There are quite a few things that are problematic about this lawsuit -- with the first one still being that he's suing the wrong parties. The sites he's suing are all the platforms which others are using for distribution. They're not involved in the content at all, and if he wants to sue, he should be suing those who are uploading his content. However, the much more important issue is how backwards this is and how it goes against nearly every other part of his strategy. Nearly every other part of Prince's strategy had seemed to be focused on the simple idea that the more his music got out there, the more ways there were for him to make money -- whether it be from more people wanting to see him in concert or getting others (sponsors, partners, even fans) to pay him upfront to create his next group of songs so that he doesn't need to worry about monetizing the music after it's been produced. These are strategies that make sense, and actually become even more valuable when his music is being heavily promoted online for free by his biggest fans. This kind of strategy backfires when you try to also maintain strict copyright control. For someone who had been so creative in figuring out new business models that don't require limiting fans via copyright, it's disappointing to see Prince go in the opposite direction -- potentially harming much of the good will he's built up.

In the meantime, it's looking like Trent Reznor may quickly be taking away the baton as a well-known musician who is experimenting with cool new models designed to get more music out there and then providing incentives to make money elsewhere. Reznor is now being quoted as telling fans that they should be downloading his music for free from his own site, rather than wasting money on buying counterfeit CDs.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Stute, Sep 13th, 2007 @ 7:31pm

    I'm sick and tired of these people suing the wrong

    I'm going to go stand in the middle of the street, wait for a car to hit me, then sue the maker of the car. It's the same logic after all...

    BAH! Just when you think someone gets it, they screw it up. This is why I don't buy music. Thank god for internet radio.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    not so royal, Sep 13th, 2007 @ 7:43pm

    Perhaps this misguided action will turn Prince into a Pauper ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Dave, Sep 13th, 2007 @ 7:52pm

    What a change

    Yeah, I like Prince's music a lot, and it seemed like he was successfully figuring out how to make some cash in today's technical environment, satisfy fans, and even stick it to the Man. But now this? Wow, he's lost it. He must have electrocuted his brain when he played in the rain at the Super Bowl.

    Stute - tell you what, I'm gonna do almost exactly what you did, but after I get hit, I'm gonna sue whoever owns the road! Now I just need to figure out who that is. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Andrew Riley, Sep 13th, 2007 @ 8:17pm

    Prince is still around?

    I'd say I'm not going to buy any more of his CD's, but I lost interest in Prince about... 25 years ago.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Scotty the Menace, Sep 13th, 2007 @ 9:19pm

    YOU are missing the point

    That tech writers like you think it is somehow "backward" for artists to protect their own property shows that you are the one missing the point.

    When an owner loses control over the distribution of his property it becomes worthless. The fact that Prince controlled the free distribution of his music does not suggest that the uncontrolled distribution of his property by others is acceptable.

    When will tech writers realize that technological capabilities do not equate to moral or legal rights? Want does not equal right.

    It is, and should be, illegal to freely distribute the property of others without their consent. Prince can rightly be criticized for suing the networks rather than the people posting the files, but he should not be criticized for trying to maintain control of his property.

    That the world is in a downward spiral of immorality where people like this writer feel it is perfectly fine for people to steal someone else's property does not mean we need to sit back and idly watch it happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Sep 14th, 2007 @ 12:14am

      Re: YOU are missing the point

      That tech writers like you think it is somehow "backward" for artists to protect their own property shows that you are the one missing the point.

      Funny, but this has nothing to do with tech. It's from a business and economics perspective, and we've made it clear that it's for the sake of allowing Prince to make MORE money. So I think it may be you who's missing the point in saying that this is a tech writeup only.

      When an owner loses control over the distribution of his property it becomes worthless. The fact that Prince controlled the free distribution of his music does not suggest that the uncontrolled distribution of his property by others is acceptable.

      Again, I believe you're missing the point and would ask you to go back and read what I wrote again. Losing control of distribution doesn't in any way make things worthless. In fact, the opposite is quite often true. You just need to learn how to monetize the scarce components of your offering.

      When will tech writers realize that technological capabilities do not equate to moral or legal rights? Want does not equal right.


      When will people critiquing me stop thinking that I'm defending file sharing? I never said there was a moral or legal right to do unauthorized file sharing. Nothing of the sort. I said (go, read what I wrote) that Prince is BETTER OFF and can make more money if HE CHOOSES to ignore those who are doing these things. In fact, he can do EVEN BETTER if he were to encourage people to ignore his copyrights.

      I never said anything saying that people have a moral or legal right to file share. I was talking solely from Prince's perspective.

      I expect you'll apologize for accusing me of saying something I didn't?

      It is, and should be, illegal to freely distribute the property of others without their consent. Prince can rightly be criticized for suing the networks rather than the people posting the files, but he should not be criticized for trying to maintain control of his property.

      Yes, he absolutely should be criticized if it's a DUMB BUSINESS move -- which it is. Let's say Toys R Us decided to stay closed the day after Thanksgiving, the biggest Christmas shopping day of the year. It's absolutely their right, but it's perfectly justified to criticize them, because they're making a dumb business decision. I'm saying he's making a dumb business decision and I've back it up with plenty of evidence.

      That the world is in a downward spiral of immorality where people like this writer feel it is perfectly fine for people to steal someone else's property does not mean we need to sit back and idly watch it happen.

      If there's any "downward spiral" here it's from folks like you being unable to comprehend the simple stance we've taken which has NOTHING to do with saying it's perfectly fine for anyone to steal anything. I have never said that and I don't believe it's fine for anyone to steal anything.

      What I'm saying and what I've backed up with evidence is that it often makes much more sense for the *producer* of the content, the *owner* of the copyright to ignore those rights, because it can make them a lot more money.

      In this case, it had appeared that Prince had figured this out, and was monetizing his music in a pattern consistent with the model I've explained. However, in doing this, he threatens to hurt the very model that had made him successful.

      It's a dumb business move. It's like closing Toys R Us the day after Thanksgiving.

      So, you can keep yelling at me for saying something I didn't say, but it's hardly compelling when you're simply setting up strawmen on things I didn't say while telling me that it's somehow *me* who missed the point.

      Try again.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      The Real Stanislav G, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 8:29am

      Re: YOU are missing the point

      Actually, I think you're missing what's going on here. I only say that because it seems you've never read TD before. All writers on this subject are people who think they should get music for free and that we should lambaste, boycott, and sterilize anyone who thinks otherwise.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 8:50am

      Re: YOU are missing the point

      You know, it is backwards.

      He gave away his music:

      "It is Prince who has made the groundbreaking decision personally to authorise The Mail on Sunday to give away this incredible CD as he believes in giving back his music to all his fans."

      http://www.3121.com/blog/?m=200706

      If that statement were, in fact, true, then he wouldn't be suing people over downloading his music for free. No, I think it had more to do with the fact that he was paid $1 million dollars to give away that album than anything for the fans. He is obviously more enthused by money than music... If he cared about music, then he'd not care about it being "obtained for free".

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      BatStealer, Oct 9th, 2007 @ 11:25am

      Re: YOU are missing the point

      Did you even read the article?

      Point 1 of the Article: Prince is stupid for suing the wrong parties.

      Point 2: Prince is hypocritical for giving his album away free, but suing to for "control of his property"

      The lawsuit isn't about control, it's about $. It's like suing auto manufacturers to prevent DWI incidents. It's like suing techdirt.com to get the minutes of my life back that I wasted reading your idiotic babble. Should Prince be called an idiot for this? Hell yes because he is.

      You're worried about someone downloading a song off the internet when we need to put metal detectors in schools to keep our kids safe. Where are your priorities?

      I hope you take a long hard look at yourself and realize you're not doing society any good with your way of thinking so take your buddy, Ahmadinejad out to your car and hang out with him for a good few hours with it running in a closed garage, please.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Chris, Sep 13th, 2007 @ 10:45pm

    what if...

    If I create a super computer to spit out every single combination of notes that any instrument in the world can create and then combine it with every single world in any language spoken, then copyright, trademark, or by other means make it exclusivly avaialble only to my sole person to distribute or market it to anyone else you'd be compleley supportive of me being the only person capable of generating any type of business or revenue off these orignail works of art because I was the first person to file correct? HELL NO! The point you are misssing is that anyone who truely believs in any form of artistic expression will do so even it means living in a gutter for the rest of their lives. No one who truely wnats people to be expossed to their "Creative" abilites is going to prohibit their works from freely being distributed to the masses. Obviously if there is a mechanism in place that will enable the artists or creator to generate some type of profit or revenue to help support their ability to create such works in the first place, they're going to take full well advantage of it. However, to completely dismiss anyone elses logic or reasoning as to why they should be able to obtain such pieces in the first place at not cost is completley devoid of any realm of comprehension as to why people dont want to pay in the first place. Admiraiton, aprreciation, and respsect trump any face vaule that can be recieve in return for the amount of any true artsits work. Anyone else is just a biggot on a soapbox spouting out their crap in hopes that some random moron will pay through the teeth so they can be on the next episode of MTV cribs showing off their 7 cars that rape the environement while their materialistic greed further devolves their ability to produce anything once resmebling anything someone might have given a crap about. All I really have to say is "Imagine" and if you can't comprehend that then odds are you could never see the benefit in freedom of distribution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      chris, Sep 13th, 2007 @ 10:48pm

      Re: what if... (cont)

      poor sleep = poor grammar and punctuation, fill in the blanks if you cognaitve ability so forth complies

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    The infamous Joe, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 4:25am

    God is a pirate.


    That the world is in a downward spiral of immorality where people like this writer feel it is perfectly fine for people to steal someone else's property does not mean we need to sit back and idly watch it happen.


    Firstly, it's not stealing. End of discussion there.

    Secondly, when did it become immoral to infringe on copyrights? I'm not the most religious person out there, but I'm pretty sure I'd have noticed a "Thou shall not infringe upon thy neighbor's copyrights." in the bible. Just because the *government* says it's illegal doesn't make it *immoral*-- unless you want to say that hanging things on your rear view mirror while driving is also immoral...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 8:25pm

      Re: God is a pirate.

      Then there's the story of Jesus replicating the 5 loaves and 2 fish and sharing them with a multitude of 5000. That is in principle what some people want to call "stealing" these days. It seems to me that any Christian calling such sharing "stealing" is also accusing Jesus of being a thief and committing blasphemy. Something they might want to think about.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    TriZz, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 5:25am

    Prince

    Another benefit of him releasing the music for free with the Newspaper is that those in the younger age brackets (I'm 27, but I'm talking younger) might hear this album and decided to go exploring and purchase his older stuff. People that are 21 and younger haven't heard much from Prince. This gives the opportunity for those to hear his music and go check out his other stuff.

    This is weak. I'm really disappointed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Michelle, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 5:25am

    Trent Reznor doesn't say anything about downloading from his own site. He says to find them on the internet. RTFA, plz.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 8:32pm

      Re:

      Trent Reznor doesn't say anything about downloading from his own site. He says to find them on the internet. RTFA, plz.

      "Reznor excoriates the labels, promises to go independent and sell through his website". Pretty close.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 5:48am

    Back in the days........

    What everyone seems to be missing is that there was a time when everyone in the world was more than happy to buy a cd, to pay for music, movies whatever. Why has that changed now? The quality of most of todays music is not work $15 a CD, $20 a DVD. It used to be that paying for music and movies was to finance an artist to be able to create another piece of music or a movie that we all might enjoy. Now all that money does is line the pocket of some executive somewhere and ensure they can use $100 bills as toilet paper. I'm tired of it being assumed everyone is a criminal as soon as you buy something, you get a CD or Movie that's already "locked" down "in case" i decide to pirate it. What if it gets scratched up and i just want to make another copy so i can keep playing it? I just got a new phone that's "bluetooth enabled", but it turns out it's only enabled for the handsfree. I'm sorry but that is unacceptable to me, so as soon as i find a way to hack the firmware on it i will, and then this anti-piracy movement will have just created one more pirate. That's all the RIAA and MPAA have done is create more people who want to steal music and movies. Treat everyone like a criminal and soon people will all start behaving like criminals.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 6:10am

    "That's all the RIAA and MPAA have done is create more people who want to steal music and movies."

    How can the RIAA and MPAA create more people who want to steal music and movies when copyright infringement isn't stealing? According to Joe, "Firstly, it's not stealing. End of discussion there." Don't expect a debate from Joe there though, cause the discussion is over.

    Face it, most download the music and movies for free because they don't want to pay for it. Where do you think the RIAA came from? You think the music industry was sitting around bored and decided to start it up even though no one was illegally sharing copyright material? It didn't happen and then all of a sudden everyone started to do it once the RIAA was around?

    Is the RIAA right in everything they do? Of course not, they do some stupid things. Are they wrong in all they do, nope.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 7:07am

      Re:

      The principle for which they were founded is not wrong, but the method by which they try to achieve this is completely wrong. In business you have to grow adapt and change to keep up and survive, or you die. Survival of the fittest.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Pete, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 6:31am

    You can't justify theft

    All I see here is someone who wants to keep stealing someone else's property who will make extensive puffed up arguments to attempt to justify it.

    You need to learn the law. It is equally criminal to HELP a thief. It's called aiding and abetting. If I let someone borrow my car to use in a crime, and especially if this pattern has been going on long enough for me to have stopped letting him borrow the car for his crime, then I am aiding and abetting.

    Thieves get what they deserve. They get robbed by other people someday. Then suddenly they are on the warpath against other thieves. But this article condones stealing. So, when the author gets robbed someday, do you think he will write a bunch of malarky justify the other person's right to rob him? I doubt it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Sep 14th, 2007 @ 5:00pm

      Re: You can't justify theft

      All I see here is someone who wants to keep stealing someone else's property who will make extensive puffed up arguments to attempt to justify it.

      Two points: 1. Infringement is not theft. Stop saying it's the same thing.

      2. I have never defended anyone using any content without authorization or under fair use. So there's no justification here. It's all about making sure that the *producer* understands his or her options for making more money.

      You need to learn the law. It is equally criminal to HELP a thief. It's called aiding and abetting.

      No, I'm afraid you need to learn the law. This is not aiding and abetting. This is performing a legitimate service that someone abuses. You don't sue the telephone company for "aiding and abetting" when someone uses the phone to commit a crime do you?

      But this article condones stealing. So, when the author gets robbed someday, do you think he will write a bunch of malarky justify the other person's right to rob him? I doubt it.

      No. The article does not condone stealing. Please read it again. The *only* thing it condones is that producers of content should do a better job learning to embrace business models that can help them earn more money -- even if it means ignoring copyrights.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 14th, 2007 @ 6:45am

    Re #8 (Mike), #9 (Joe), #13 (Thoughts)

    First, my thought, I have said it before and will say it again, Reznor freaking rocks. He is a brilliant man.

    #8
    Very well said Mike (again).
    I also do not know why others keep saying that you promote copyright infringement. You simply promote a better business model.
    I am pretty sure that if an artist asks you to share his music, and you download it from a Torrent or P2P of some sort, it is NOT copyright infringement because they okayed it, right? Please correct me if I am wrong there.

    #9
    Thank you Joe, saved me the trouble of pointing out (as we often do) that copyright infringement is not stealing. Also, good point on the immoral vs illegal.

    #13
    The discussion should be over. Joe is right. As Mike, Joe, and lately myself have been pointing out, downloading songs is copyright infringement, and is NOT stealing. What is there really to discuss? We have had many a discussion before this one about this exact topic. If I am not mistaken I believe one or more (I believe it is on the more side) of them were with you. Again, it IS copyright infringement (still currently illegal), and IS NOT stealing (also illegal, but not the same). Don't make me pull out the car in your driveway comparison. =P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 6:47am

    Mike you are still Wrong

    You were wrong when you first covered the youtube baby dancing video and you wrong still. It must suck to be so wrong. But seriously, Prince has every right to protect his copyright. How would you like it if cnet or wired started just copying and pasting your posts and taking your name off of them? Would you send a cease and decease letter? I guess you could not, because of your stance on copyright. I mean you let us read your posts for free. It is distributed through the internet straight to my computer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Sep 14th, 2007 @ 11:28am

      Re: Mike you are still Wrong

      Prince has every right to protect his copyright.

      Indeed. Where did I say otherwise? All I'm saying is that it's stupid for him to do so. It's his right, but it's a bad business decision.

      How would you like it if cnet or wired started just copying and pasting your posts and taking your name off of them?

      That would be fantastic, honestly. First of all, it would probably take all of about 10 seconds for someone to point out that one of those sites was copying my content without attribution and there would be an uproar that would generate a lot more interest in our content. Those sites would most likely then go back and put my name back on the content, generating even more publicity.

      So, yeah, if you can get CNET or Wired to repost my content, I would appreciate it. That would be fantastic publicity.

      In the meantime, it is quite different for them to post stuff without my name. That's not the situation here. No one is claiming that they're Prince when they're not... and even then, it's a trademark issue, not a copyright one -- because that's about consumer protection from someone pretending to be someone they're not.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Just Me, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 7:03am

    #15

    I think the key point of your issue is this;
    "and taking your name off of them."
    In the case Mike seems to be making for Prince, if you apply the same logic to Mike it would seem he would have no issue with them copying and pasting - it's the removal of his name hat would be a problem.

    So long as the author name stays with the article I don't think any writer would object too much to other people distributing their work when it's already posted freely to the world.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Just Me, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 7:04am

    oh...

    ...and no one is taking Prince's name off of his work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 7:09am

      Re: oh...

      Ummm...Right? Is that what you are going with? You are right that would not be copyright infringement. But that was not the scenerio, so not sure what you are saying. If he was not given credit for his work by a credit or compension. Also, I am confused by people saying that downloading music is only copyright infringement is not stealing. If you get something you did not pay for and you do not have permission to have it or use it then that would be stealing. Guess with Killer_Tofu's logic, I can go copyright infringe some stuff from Target.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 11:08pm

        Re: Re: oh...

        Guess with Killer_Tofu's logic, I can go copyright infringe some stuff from Target.
        Just remember, even though it isn't stealing, copyright infringement is still illegal. So yeah, I suppose you can infringe on Target's copyrights, and you can be prosecuted for it too. Go ahead, let us know how that works out for you.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Just Me, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 7:18am

    Re: oh...

    The point I was trying to make is that it isn;t a fiar comparison. In #15 the person made the point that copying Mike's post to other sources without his name would be ok by Mike's logic and this is simply not true.
    No one is sayign that Prince did not make the music, and my point was that a writer posting an article online would probbely *want* their work reposted in different forums so long as they are still the ones who's name is at the bottom.

    I'm not trying to say that dl'ing Prince is ok, just that the issue of dl'ing Prince vs copying a free article and slapping someone else's name on it is a different issue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 7:34am

    Killer, I was just correcting a post from an AC that wrote that the RIAA was turning law abiding citizens into theifs.

    Although I think you, Joe and Mike are wrong on the theft issue, I will agree with you that it should be termed criminal, not theft, behavior.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 11:12pm

      Re:

      Copyright infringement is not theft. Those who claim otherwise are liars no matter how often they repeat the lie.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    sam, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 7:48am

    mike...

    your whole approach to these kinds of issues centers around your belief that if prince (or other artists) allow others to file share their music, then there will be a myriad of other new/profitable business opportunities that open up...

    you furthermore, seem to imply that if the musician doesn't do these things, then they 'don't get it!'...

    i'm pretty sure prince gets it. the guy has been making music since he was 15-16, when his music was reallonly played be black radio stations on "AM"... before a good number of you guys were even born. i 1st heard him in the early 80s if i recall...

    he gets it. he simply wants the right to be the one who decides what to do with his music/name... it's really as simple as that.

    now, if you think you have a better business model, i'm pretty sure if you wanted to put your $$$ were your ideas are, he'd listen.. but i'm also pretty sure your bucket of cash is waaay smaller than his.

    so he's dealing with real dollars, you're dealing with potential theories...

    like i've advocated.. if a musician makes the music, he gets to decide what to do with it.. whether it's sell it, or give it away.. his choice.

    and as you've pointed out, others might do it differently... but i'll still pay for things that prince/hancock/etc... produce than most of the 'free' stuff been offered as music!

    peace..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 11:16pm

      Re:

      he gets it. he simply wants the right to be the one who decides what to do with his music/name... it's really as simple as that.
      He has the legal right to do that. He also has the right to be foolish. Others have the right to point that foolishness out, whether you like it or not.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Ed, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: oh... by Anonymous Coward

    In #19, Anonymous Coward wrote:
    "If you get something you did not pay for and you do not have permission to have it or use it then that would be stealing. Guess with Killer_Tofu's logic, I can go copyright infringe some stuff from Target."

    In this you are wrong. It you could go in to Target, photograph a piece of furniture, go home to your wood shop and (assuming you had talent) build an exact replica of the piece, have you stolen from Target? When you steal a "thing", you have it, and the original owner does not have it anymore. I can't tell you have many times I have argued with a friend on this subject. To hear him tell it, if someone copies a piece of software, you are not only stealing the full price of the software from the manufacturer, you have also stolen from the packaging company, that produced the extra box you did not buy, and the cd case, the documentation. This is nonsense, but some people can not see that every copy of a product, is not in fact an instance of that product, that would otherwise have been sold.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Ed, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: oh... by Anonymous Coward

    Just to finish.... (catches me every time, I hit enter by mistake, and it sends it)

    I do agree that producers of copyrighted material are entitled to a fair return, I spend thousands of dollars a year on copyrighted material. But only when I can purchase it in a reasonable form, and at a reasonable price, otherwise I go without.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 8:47am

    I think most people will agree with me. we don't want everything for nothing, we just want what we pay for to be worth what we pay for it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 9:11am

    "We just want what we pay for to be worth what we pay for it"

    Well thats all fine and dandy, except the next phrase usually is unspoken but goes like this "and if its not I will just get it for free."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 10:02am

      Re:

      I for one have been to plenty of concerts where the artist told the fans to d/l burn and share their music to get more people out to there shows, and it's not just the unknowns i'm talking about big name bands. The RIAA isn't protecting the artist getting paid for their work, the RIAA is protecting themselves to make sure they get paid for the artists work.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 11:20pm

      Re:

      "We just want what we pay for to be worth what we pay for it"
      Well thats all fine and dandy, except the next phrase usually is unspoken but goes like this "and if its not I will just get it for free."
      So anyone who wants their money's worth is now a criminal in your mind. Only in your mind.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Pete, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 9:46am

    Repeat of unposted comment!

    YouTube makes a profit from the sale of ads and other links they call "partnership".

    If you make a profit from any activity, if you accept that profit knowing that the activity is illegal, you must take responsibility.

    Prince is suing them because he things they are shirking their responsibility. What is unclear about that?

    Why should Prince, or George Harrison's son, or John Lennon's wife, have to do YouTube's job of policiing their site? Why should the artists be the ones who have to hire "Web Sheriff"?

    YouTube will not perform the functions of Web Sheriff because it reduces their profit margin.

    Can you follow this logic? Since they gain from NOT policing their own site (claiming to depend on complaints, in other words, something that costs them zero zip nada denari), they are making a profit from illegal activity.

    But why do these non-lawyers (myself included) think we can presume to dictate the law? Why not let a judge decide? That's why we have judges -- because we can't agree. Somebody has to make the case. And of course, the government won't do anything until someone complains either.

    So in the end, it's the artists who get screwed. But that's OK by Mike because he thinks they are all rich. Well, it's a business, dude. For every gazillionaire pop singer out there, there are a hundred thousand starving artists. The property rights of ALL ARTISTS are violated by the abuse of the rights of ONE ARTIST, no matter how rich you think he is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 10:11am

      Re: Repeat of unposted comment!

      Artists make most of their money by touring, which people show up to because they like their music. So the best way for them to make money is for them to get their music to as many people as possible(and not pissing them off by suing them)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Sep 14th, 2007 @ 11:35am

      Re: Repeat of unposted comment!

      If you make a profit from any activity, if you accept that profit knowing that the activity is illegal, you must take responsibility.

      Actually, under that definition, every ISP is illegal and would have to shut down. Every ISP knows that people use their service for illegal activities -- and every ISP profits from that in some way.

      Also under your definition, every car manufacturer is breaking the law. Every car is used to break the speed limit at some time. Based on your reasoning, it's the responsibility of GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, BMW and all those others. After all, they profit from the ability for people to break the speed limit.

      Why aren't yo screaming for their heads?

      However, our politicians and courts have realized it's silly and harmful to blame a service provider for the actions of its users.

      Why should Prince, or George Harrison's son, or John Lennon's wife, have to do YouTube's job of policiing their site? Why should the artists be the ones who have to hire "Web Sheriff"?

      Actually, this one's easy: because there are a TON of artists out there who are smart enough to recognize that there are benefits to having their music heard by more people and they WANT their content on YouTube. If YouTube goes around taking down content that people WANT on the site, then it has a real problem. So, yes, it SHOULD be the responsibility of the copyright holder to find violations for a very good reason.

      Can you follow this logic?

      As I've shown, if we follow your logic, we would have very few companies at all.

      Why not let a judge decide?

      Two points: judges have decided. They've made it clear that service providers are not responsible for the actions of their users.

      Second point: it's not really a legal issue here anyway, it's about what's best for the producer of the content. If this is a bad business decision, why not point that out?

      So in the end, it's the artists who get screwed. But that's OK by Mike because he thinks they are all rich. Well, it's a business, dude. For every gazillionaire pop singer out there, there are a hundred thousand starving artists. The property rights of ALL ARTISTS are violated by the abuse of the rights of ONE ARTIST, no matter how rich you think he is.

      When have I EVER implied that musicians are rich? I know plenty of musicians, and trust me, I've yet to meet a musician who has made very much money -- even ones who are considered quite successful.

      As I've pointed out, the model I'm discussing is about how these musicians can make more money by generating more interest in the things they can sell. I'm not sure why you seem to think it's about taking money away from rich musicians. It's the opposite of that. It's about a model that lets any musician make more money.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 11:27pm

        Re: Re: Repeat of unposted comment!

        It's about a model that lets any musician make more money.
        Heresey! Have you any idea what that would do to the established business models? Everyone knows it's the record companies that are supposed to make the money, not the musicians!

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Dave, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 10:04am

    RIAA-styled arguments

    I see that there are one or two well-intentioned people who stick up for Prince's right to protect his intellectual property. I actually agree, in principle. I used to make similar arguments myself, as I'm a musician.

    But then I woke up. Sorry, like it or not, we're in a new world, and it's almost charmingly naive to think that people can lock down and protect every bit of music they produce using concepts and beliefs from mid-last-century. Even if it were feasible to sue people every single day, and of course it isn't, someone will figure out how to digitally replicate what you do. So what do you do? Face reality and figure out how to actually make a living in such an environment, and some are willing to learn a few new things and figure it out. Certainly bureacracies like the RIAA don't get this; their main goals are self-preservation and maintaining the status quo.

    Or you can just put your head in the sand, roll up in a ball, and cry about how totally, totally unfair it is that someone is copying your music and giving it to somebody else.

    There seems to be one alternative, albeit impractical - just not digitally recording anything you do, and only perform live and try to charge for it. But even then, you could unwittingly be recorded by someone, even with their cellphone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 11:41pm

      Re: RIAA-styled arguments

      I see that there are one or two well-intentioned people who stick up for Prince's right to protect his intellectual property. I actually agree, in principle. I used to make similar arguments myself, as I'm a musician.
      There are more than one or two. Many here agree that he has that legal right and you should too. To imply that most of the posters here don't think that he has that legal right is deceitful.

      Many here also believe that he is exercising that legal right in a foolish business manner. But that's his right too. A lot business owners make the mistake of letting lawyers make their business model decisions for them. Of course, the lawyers usually make out pretty well.

      There seems to be one alternative, albeit impractical - just not digitally recording anything you do, and only perform live and try to charge for it. But even then, you could unwittingly be recorded by someone, even with their cellphone.
      That sounds like the short path to failure to me. Without the publicity of recorded material not many people are going to be interested your performances. Your argument is similar to the man who decides to go about in the dark without lighting a torch lest someone else light their torch off his. Also known as cutting your nose off to spite your face.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Mr. Goodnight, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 10:30am

    It's not just music

    Prince is threatening lawsuit of fan sites who have pictures of Prince posted.... also those who post pictures of any of his concerts. Prince believes he owns the right to any image of his, no matter what. He's threatened his own fans for over 10 years. If you want proof, use the way back machine and check out his official websites "love4oneanother.com" back in 1997 and 1998. He wanted all of his fan sites to shut down, and join his own website, so he could filter all the negative news about him. If they didn't join, he sued them, I believe. It didn't work. This act is just an extension of that one, 11 years ago.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 10:36am

    Its pretty funny that Prince went from posterboy for free to demon in one lawsuit.

    Pete, of course YouTube might qualify for safe harbor. That would mean they would have to not know that copywritten material was posted on their site.

    I wonder how they can convince a judge and jury that they don't know there is copywritten material on their site unlawfully. They might not know which is which, but they can not claim they don't know that there is material up there violating copyrights. Unless of course they never actually look at their site.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 11:46pm

      Re:

      Its pretty funny that Prince went from posterboy for free to demon in one lawsuit.
      More like he went from possibly enlightened to proving himself not so in just one stupid lawsuit.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 14th, 2007 @ 11:11am

    Re #31 & Ed

    Thank you Ed for yet another good analogy.
    Thank you RandomThoughts for the acknowledgement, I suppose we shall have to agree to disagree then. After reading much on this topic, I feel that there is a decently clear line between copyright infringement and theft / stealing, and am just tired of people saying that it is all stealing stuff. I feel mostly like it is a difference in definitions that most people are ignoring.

    #31
    I am pretty dang sure it is in You_Tube's agreement you click on when signing up so you can post, that you will NOT post copyrighted material. So they do perfectly fall under the safe harbor provisions. They have made a point clear to not post that kind of material. Their users however choose to not follow this rule, and then the owners of the material choose to sue them instead of the actual posters, there by furthering the problem by not being intelligent enough about who to sue.

    In general, suing sites like Pirate Bay (oh the irony of the name for my statement here) and torrentspy, isohunt, etc, is not the right way to do things. They are like search engines really. Not all of them may be set up the same, but in general they make it easy to search through torrents. ALL P2P has perfectly legitimate uses. Such as spreading Freeware (meant to be free software) and other stuff that is meant to be released to all. So suing them is also hurting those who DO want their material out there.

    Here is a thought I heard mentioned many years ago but still am not sure which side of the fence to sit on about:
    If you own a CD, indicating you are allowed to make your own personal backup. Thanks to the DMCA saying you can't break the stupid DRM stuff, and since you OWN the material, if you went to download the CD, have you copyright infringed?
    You DO own the CD. And by law you technically aren't allowed to break any DRM. So, by downloading, is that copyright infringement, or is it perfectly okay since you physically own the CD? Anyone have any thoughts about that case? I never hear anyone mention it, and can't recall reading much about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 11:44am

    Killer, I can't imagine that it is against the law to download your purchased copy of a CD, although if you own the CD, maybe you mean archive or save it on your hard drive? Even that I wouldn't consider illegal. Can't imagine any court would either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 14th, 2007 @ 12:18pm

    Re #40 RandomThoughts

    Yah, I was trying to say if I bought it in a store, and wanted it backed up.
    Rather than using back up software that might break any DRM on a disc, I wanted to make sure that it was still okay to download the music from the net, since you already bought a physical copy.
    The only time I heard anyone mention this was back when Metallica sued Napster. Never heard it mentioned since then.
    Until our discussion now that is.
    Mike, I know you have read more on these topics than I have, any input on that topic as well?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 12:26pm

    Mike, it is just flat out wrong to say that the courts have decided that the ISP is not responsible for the conduct of its users.

    They are not always responsible, but sometimes they are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Sep 14th, 2007 @ 5:08pm

      Re:

      Mike, it is just flat out wrong to say that the courts have decided that the ISP is not responsible for the conduct of its users.

      They are not always responsible, but sometimes they are.


      Actually, the courts have been quite clear in support of the various safe harbor provisions stating in very clear language that ISPs are not responsible for the conduct of their users. In which cases are ISPs responsible?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Bah who needs one, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 5:45pm

    Did Prince actually do this, or is it possible that Prince's lawyer slipped his leash and did this on his own initiative?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 7:30pm

    In which cases are ISP's responsible? When they don't qualify for safe harbor. Thats what the current lawsuits against YouTube will question (how many are they up to?) Thats what shut Napster down. Thats what shut all the other Sters down. Those providers were in effect shut down because they were "aiding and abetting"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2007 @ 11:56pm

      Re:

      In which cases are ISP's responsible? When they don't qualify for safe harbor.
      OK then, just exactly how does a customer go about disqualifing an ISP from safe harbor protections?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Sep 16th, 2007 @ 11:10am

      Re:

      When they don't qualify for safe harbor. Thats what the current lawsuits against YouTube will question (how many are they up to?) Thats what shut Napster down.

      They're still not responsible for the specific actions of their users -- they are simply responsible for "inducing" those actions. In other words, they're responsible for encouraging the actions, but not necessarily for the actions themselves. Aiding and abetting is a different crime than robbing.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    maths, Sep 15th, 2007 @ 9:30am

    Trent Reznor said...

    I am the one who chatted with Reznor in China and just to add to #11 & #49's views, he said that he'd rather his fans download his songs for free (p2p, torrents, NIN website) than buy the pirated CD or import the CD at rip-off prices. And of course in future, he firmly intends to give everyone access at fair prices to NIN's music via his website. For full text of the chat, please go to http://www.music2dot0.com/archives/36

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    lucky, Sep 15th, 2007 @ 10:33am

    nonsense

    Does youtube make money when a user uploads a Prince video? Does youtube make money when a user plays a video? I'm pretty certain the answers are no, but let me tell you, because I searched Prince out and played his videos for my kids on youtube, ages 14 and 17, they purchased 1 of his CDs last year. I wonder if youtube got a cut from the sale? You know, they say there is a very thin line between genius and wacko. Age has given him a slight nudge over the line, perhaps?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Sep 15th, 2007 @ 5:00pm

    How does a ISP lose safe harbor? Lots of ways. Napster did so, a lot of the other Sters did. Thats what the whole Viacom v. YouTube will be about.

    Is it really surprising? Before Google bought YouTube, everyone was quoted as saying that the only reason no one had sued YouTube was because they didn't have any money.

    It will be interesting to see how that case turns out, if it ever does go to trial.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Don Jones, Sep 15th, 2007 @ 10:01pm

    Google

    If ISPs have complete safe harbor, why has Goog removed thousands of videos at the request of major media corps? Just playing nice to get their business? They already have Viacom's business on the one hand, yet they're being sued like crazy by them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Sep 16th, 2007 @ 8:47am

    Don, part of Safe Harbor requires removal of copywritten material when requested by the copyright owner. That being said, the host must not knowingly host content that is violating copyright material.

    How can YouTube claim that they don't know there is material violating copyright material?

    Another issue is that they must not generate revenue (revenue, not profit) from hosting material that violates copyright. True, they don't charge for downloads, but they do generate revenue from advertising, although they do some clever things in terms of not delivering ads on searches.

    It will be interesting to see how this turns out if it ever sees a courtroom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Sep 16th, 2007 @ 11:14am

      Re:

      Don, part of Safe Harbor requires removal of copywritten material when requested by the copyright owner. That being said, the host must not knowingly host content that is violating copyright material.

      This is true.

      How can YouTube claim that they don't know there is material violating copyright material?

      Because an awful lot of copyright owners *want* their content shared on YouTube. So how can YouTube possibly know which content the owners want up there and which they don't?

      Another issue is that they must not generate revenue (revenue, not profit) from hosting material that violates copyright.

      Actually, this is not true. It's based on a misreading of the law. If it were true based on the way you wrote it, then safe harbors would NEVER apply, because the service provider always gets revenue in some manner. Take, for example, the fact that AOL is protected if I use my AOL account to share music. I'm still paying AOL for my account, AOL is still making revenue. But the courts (and the law) know that this isn't a case where AOL is responsible -- even though AOL is making money on my infringement.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Sep 16th, 2007 @ 5:15pm

    Mike, the question that has to be answered in court is does YouTube know there is material up on their site that is voilating copyright laws? Sure, there are things that don't violate the law, but I could see a judge saying there there is a lot that does that is obvious to everyone. That puts YouTube in danger here.

    As for the revenue, Napster wasn't doing anything and they got shut down.

    It will be interesting to see how this turns out, but when YouTube was independent, everyone said that no one would buy them because they would be get wacked by content owners. What has changed?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Sep 16th, 2007 @ 8:45pm

      Re:

      the question that has to be answered in court is does YouTube know there is material up on their site that is voilating copyright laws?

      No. Actually, the law is quite clear. The only things that matter are (a) does YouTube take down content *once* they're made aware by the copyright holder and (b) does the company *induce* infringement.

      Simply knowing that there is infringing content on there is not a part of it, and is not in the law anywhere. If you think it is, I'd like to see that part of the law.

      As for the revenue, Napster wasn't doing anything and they got shut down.

      There were a number of reasons why Napster's case got shot down, many of which were due to misreading the law. However, in that case, part of the problem was that there was almost no legitimately endorsed content on Napster. That's not the case with YouTube, where there's a huge amount of legitimately approved content. Second, Napster had no way of taking down content, which YouTube does.


      It will be interesting to see how this turns out, but when YouTube was independent, everyone said that no one would buy them because they would be get wacked by content owners. What has changed?


      Nothing changed. You're making a false assumption that "everybody" said that, when the only person I remember saying that was Mark Cuban -- at which point an awfully large number of lawyers came out and said he was crazy, that YouTube was clearly protected by safe harbors.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Sep 17th, 2007 @ 5:16am

    Re #64 Mike

    That wouldn't stop some smacktard from suing AOL though. =P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    RandomThoughts, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 6:48am

    Mike, you can't be serious if you think Mark Cuban was the only person saying that YouTube was at risk. Outside of the business development head at Google, quite a few others did also (including Om, in an article he mentions you, so I know you read that.) Its pretty funny you would claim that one.

    The safe harbor provisions state that even without being told of copyright violations they can't know of infringement. How can they claim that?

    If they are bullet proof, why has Google been making deals with others to host their content? Why have they been paying others for the content?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 7:42am

    I was sued by prince

    Prince DOESN'T get it.. he sued several web sites back in 1999 and I was one of them. He'll never get it and I'll NEVER buy anything from him again

    http://jam.canoe.ca/Music/Artists/P/Prince/1999/03/11/748856.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Comrade, Sep 17th, 2007 @ 12:25pm

    I personally do not care if it is considered stealing or not. I am going to continue taking it from whomever shares it as long as I have the connection to the information. As technology advances artists refuse to advance along with it. If you are not willing to understand you probably never will.

    Excuse me for not having pity on the already wealthy and the greed of their business practices.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This